Teaching at a Public School in UAE: A timeline of the application process

Ok! If there’s one piece of advice I can give to any of you before you apply to teach at a public school in the UAE, it is this: it takes time. You will be waiting months not weeks to get on that plane. So be prepared. Patience is most definitely a virtue in this game.

You will scream, you will cry, you will question yourself and your decisions, you will look for ways out, you will change your mind, maybe two or three times, maybe more, you will panic, and you will do it all over again.

I wanted to write a post on this as a lot of people have asked me about it since I came here. I know how it feels being left in the dark as you go through it from beginning to end. Not knowing if, or when, the departure date will ever arrive.  And I know a lot of you are in the same position now or may be in the same position sometime in the future.

So, I’ve decided to include a timeline of events from the moment I first applied. It’s something I wish I would have known when I started the whole process.



July 2016:  Responded to an ad online

July 2016:  Got offered an interview in London/Manchester

September 4th 2016:  Received interview dates

November 5th 2016:  Traveled to London for interview



November 9th 2016:  Received initial contract offer

November 29th 2016:  Sent on all required documents and forms (degrees, police cert, passport copy, references)

February 19th 2017:  Received final contract offer

February 22nd 2017:  Signed and sent final contract back

March 13th 2017:  Confirmation email to say visa was ready

March 25th 2017:  Departed Dublin to Abu Dhabi


It can be an exhausting process, but hang in there. Length of time won’t really vary much from recruiter to recruiter.

Keep yourself busy. If you’re not currently working, use the opportunity to build on other interests and skills. Hang out with family and friends. Explore and appreciate your own local area.

And try not to spend too much time stressing about the future. It will happen when it’s time.

Good luck!

Author: Gaelic Guy Abroad

Mark is an ESL teacher currently living and teaching in Dubai. He spends his time trying to make good life decisions, keep fit and battle his cheesecake addiction.

4 thoughts on “Teaching at a Public School in UAE: A timeline of the application process”

  1. Hi Mark
    I’m Jenn 🙂 I found your blog from a link on a post on the tes forum, but it must’ve been fate! I flew over from Dublin for an interview with the MOE in Manchester last Saturday and was thinking that if I get offered the job how am I going to drop the bombshell to my boss that I would be handing in my notice immediately – at the busiest time of year! But now I know that that’s not going to be the case and that it could take a few months to get everything in place, I’m really relieved! Thanks so much for all the info and advice on here and the TES forum, it’s a real eye-opener and invaluable!
    I lived in Dubai years ago so hope you’re enjoying it. I’d love to know more about the school and also how you found accommodation – is ot possible to share a place or does everyone get a studio or one-bed? So, if you have any spare time and could answer some questions for me, that would be amazing!
    my email is jenninkl@yahoo.com
    Anyway, really pleased you got your preferred location and again, thanks for all the great advice 🙂

    1. Hi Jenn,
      Glad you found it useful. I’ll send an email shortly with some info but you’re right:
      Definitely don’t hand in your notice just yet. It will take a lot more time.
      Will be in touch.

      1. Hey Mark,

        Cheers on these blog posts. Really informative. Whats it like finding accommodation? Do people group together? Ive heard it’s payable with a few cheques and not like home? Any info?

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